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710.1 Introduction
 
In this section we outline those key proposals which have been presented as part ofthe strategy process. These proposals are based on extensive consultation across the community (Appendix II) in the context of the BMAP proposals and through discussion with key statutory representatives.
 
The physical proposals for the area are described here in relation to the overall study area, the Stewartstown Road and the Dairy Farm. (See map 3/0124/D-26 REV A attached). Information has been produced as a drawing and a
 
Proposal Schedule (Appendix IV and V) Proposals have generally been divided into the following six categories:
 
  • routes and access;
  • housing;
  • community facilities;
  • landscape/open spaces
  • Stewartstown road; and
  • Colin Town Centre. 

 

It was concluded that the manner in which the Colin area has developed over the years i.e. four areas with only one main link road, has created a sense of physical disconnectedness across the area. The main link road is the Stewartstown Road and it reflects poorly in terms of overall layout, presentation of commercial premises and attractiveness for pedestrians.

It is therefore proposed that the following measures should be considered as a means of contributing to and to complementing the proposal to develop a Colin Town Centre.

The following measures are therefore proposed:
 
  • the Stewartstown Road strip (including the Diary Farm) from the Teeling roundabout to the Becketts Public House should become the Colin Town centre. This area should become the primary focus of all key commercial and statutory developments within the Colin area;
  • establishment of a series of entrance features/environmental improvements in relation to the entrances to the Colin area and to the specific neighbourhoods;
  • reduction of the dominances of the car by introducing traffic calming and making provision for cycle networks;
  • formation of new road and path connections where appropriate to improve the linkages throughout the area; and
  • provision of a circuit bus route which passes the local neighbourhood centres, the schools, the Town Centre and the Railhalt at Dunmurry.
 
One of the key findings of the consultation process was the general finding that the quality of housing in the Colin area, there are undoubtedly issues relating to the needs of particular groups e.g. homeless and these must be recognised and addressed. However, the consultation concludes that the social housing stock within Colin is of good quality, regularly maintained and access to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is good. It is important to note that increasingly residents are choosing to purchase their houses and this can be seen as adding significant social capital and commitment to the Colin area.

The findings of our consultation and analysis of housing issues concludes the need to:
 
  • enhance the distinctiveness between different housing areas;
  • provide guidance on siting of housing particularly in relation to the Stewartstown Road;
  • provide environmental improvements to existing housing areas including possible renewal of “back alleys”;
  • demolish unsuccessful flatted accommodation and replace with new build housing for sale to improve the tenure mix; and
  • new build houses on appropriate, available sites.
 
One of the recurrent issues which was raised throughout the strategy process was the general lack of facilities across the Colin area. During the various consultations across the local neighbourhoods, focus groups consultation and responses in written submissions highlighted the lack of community facilities. The issue is significant at several levels:
 
  • Firstly, at a broad Neighbourhood level, the main significant community facility is the Dairy Farm, perceived broadly as a failure;
  • Secondly, in terms of other significant community facilities in the area, the Brook Activity Centre and more recently the development of the pitches on the 21 Acre site are viewed as important leisure and recreation facilities. However, the Brook Activity Centre is almost thirty years old and is in need of a significant overhaul and redevelopment; and
  • Thirdly, within each local neighbourhood there are limited facilities which provide focus for the respective residents. For example, in Poleglass the main community facilities consist of the Sally Gardens Centre, Footprints and Cloona House. In Lagmore apart from a school, church and small nursery there are no community facilities.
 
As part of the strategy it is recommended that the following approach is adopted:
 
identify the preferred location of local neighbourhood centres in each area where ideally community facilities and local commercial activities would congregate;
maximise the benefit of existing school facilities by improving these and enabling them to be used during out of school hours; and
encourage employment opportunities by providing start-up business unit in the existing industrial estates.
 
The general Colin area represents an area of significant natural resources including the Black Mountain backdrop, Colin river including the Forest Park and the natural landscaping of Dunmurry Lane and Lagmore town land including the small woods and glens. These assets need to be conserved and managed thereby securing an investment for future generations who will make their homes in the area. It is therefore recommended resources are committed to ensure:
 
  • enhancement and extension of the landscape features of the existing watercourses running east/west across the area;
  • provision of adequate numbers of play facilities for different age groups in the appropriate locations within each local neighbourhood;
  • provision of a traditional landscaped local park within each local neighbourhood;
  • improvement of existing external sports pitches and provision of appropriate support accommodation;
  • archaeological monuments are highlighted within the area; and
  • provision of new sports pitches where appropriate.
 
It was concluded that the manner in which the Colin area has developed over the years i.e. four areas with only one main link road, has created a sense of physical disconnectedness across the area. The main link road is the Stewartstown Road and it reflects poorly in terms of overall layout, presentation of commercial premises and attractiveness for pedestrians.

The project brief highlighted the Stewartstown Road as a particular area of concern. A series of proposals have been developed which respond to the nature of the road and the proposals in the adjacent areas. These proposals are shown on the attached drawing and the Proposals Schedule. The road in its current form provides a number of challenges due to the amount of traffic, the typography and the lack of building frontages. It is not economically or physically possible for the road to become a busy city street such as the Andersonstown Road.
 
Therefore the proposals are based on the principle of numerous small interventions rather than one overarching solution. These take the form of entrance features, improved landscaping at road edge, improvement in street lighting at important locations, environmental improvements/traffic calming at crossing points and encouraging more buildings to address the road where appropriate. It is therefore proposed that the following measures should be considered as a means of complementing the proposal to develop a Colin Town Centre:
 
  • the Stewartstown Road Strip (including the former Diary Farm) from the Teeling roundabout to the Becketts Public House compliment the Colin Town centre. This area should become the primary focus of all key commercial and statutory developments within the Colin area;
  • establishment of a series of entrance features/environmental improvements in relation to the entrances to the Colin area and to the specific neighbourhoods;
  • reduction of the dominance of the car by introducing traffic calming and making provision for cycle networks;
  • formation of new road and path connections where appropriate to improve the linkages throughout the area; and
  • provision of a circuit bus route which passes the local neighbourhood centres, the schools, the Town Centre and the Rail halt at Dunmurry.
 
One of the key issues that was raised as a fundamental issue weakness of the Colin area both in a physical and in a community sense was the absence of a centre or heart. Analysis of the area highlights the nature and timeframes of the various developments across the area over four decades. Colin developed without a real centre. Consultation with residents, community representatives and representatives of the various statutory bodies continuously state the lack of heart as a core issue within the Colin area. Through analysis, discussion and consultation, it is concluded that within the physical constraints, availability of appropriate sites and accessibility issues, the former Dairy Farm complemented by the Stewartstown Road area present the best opportunity for a Colin Town Centre.

Present perception of the site, the building and the facilities is very poor and in order to raise the profile of this matter, a very rough sketch and series of proposals were produced highlighting some of the physical changes which could assist in a comprehensive revitalisation of this centre. The key proposal area is outlined in the attached drawing and proposal schedule (Map 5/0124/D-07) at the back of this document.

A key recommendation of this strategy is that a comprehensive and economic feasibility study, dealing with land ownership issues should be carried out.
 

10.7.1 Creating a Sense of Place
 
Colin is a place in which there is a growing sense of belief and commitment to the regeneration of the neighbourhood. In implementing the Colin Neighbourhood Strategy, it will be important that the of the Colin concept is developed further in order to encourage and support its continued growth and credibility, both within the community and beyond. This ‘creating a sense of place’ could be enhanced by the appropriate marketing strategy as identified in Section 10.
 
10.7.2 The Name
 
Since the developments at Twinbrook, Poleglass and more recently Lagmore all of these constituent neighbourhoods have been referred to in terms of their own area name. In other words, there has not been a collective name for the study area.

However, since due to early discussions of various interested parties across the area, including environmentalists, religious leaders, political leaders and community representatives, the Colin title has surfaced.
Colin has begun to gain momentum and recognition across the immediate community and beyond. Colin represents and symbolises many things including:
 
  • New Start: including a new image which shakes off some of the failures of the past. During the course of this strategy development, the Dairy Farm name was replaced with the Colin Centre and the Public Library within the centre is now deemed as ‘Colin Library’;
  • Collective title: which reflects the whole of the area;
  • New Image: which shakes off the old ‘baggage’ and represents new pride, confidence and self belief; and
  • Engagement: of local groups and bodies with statutories and other key bodies.
 
A large number of strategic proposals have been identified. It is anticipated that these will be taken forward by a wide variety of community and statutory organisations. Each will require consideration in its own merits, in terms of its physical feasibility, community support and funding context. While each may provide limited benefit in isolation, together they will have to create a clarity of structure and a quality of physical environment which will assist in the regeneration of the Colin Neighbourhood.
 
Theme: Colin Town Centre
 
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Shaping Our Future and Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
 
Shaping Our Future is about preparing a Regional Development Strategy which offers a strategic and long-term perspective on the future development of Northern Ireland up to the year 2025. It has been prepared in close consultation with the community and seeks to define an agreed vision for the Region and to frame an agenda which will lead to its achievement.
 
The Issues Paper produced as part of the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan process sets out the key questions to be addressed to accommodate housing growth. In particular the distribution of housing allocation across different areas, integration with employment and public transport and the creation of balanced communities are presented as critical issues. The plan-making process will be underpinned by an urban capacity study to identify the potential for new housing within the urban limits in the BMAP area.
 
The significant existing and proposed developments across Colin but more recently in the Lagmore area present issues of environmental, physical infrastructure and social infrastructure for the Colin, West Belfast and Lisburn City communities. In the process of developing this strategy, a submission was made to BMAP outlining initial concepts and ideas of the Colin community. As the strategy is implemented the initial concepts and ideas are revised, CNI would seek to work in partnership in ensuring that BMAP represents the needs and aspirations of the wider Colin community. In particular, CNI will highlight that future housing must be matched by appropriate facilities infrastructure including shops, Medical clinics etc.
 
Recognising the need for further housing within the area, CNI will play a key role in ensuring that the development of the broader Colin area reflects and respects the natural heritage of Colin.
 
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Contact Us

Colin Neighbourhood Partnership
Cloona House
31 Colin Road
Poleglass
Belfast, BT17 0LG
Tel: 028 9062 3813
Fax: 028 9030 9722
info@newcolin.com

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